Rusty water mains to be replaced this fall

By Laurie Hamame -



A final bid has been accepted for the Shipherd Circle water line project and construction is set to start this fall.

Oberlin city council approved the lowest bid of $444,299 on Sept. 18. Of the 10 companies that showed interest, the contract was awarded to Buckeye Excavation and Construction of Norwalk.

Rusty water running to Shipherd homes has been an ongoing challenge since the completion of the water main improvements last year along East College Street.

In June 2016, the city replaced the six-inch cast iron water main on East College from Oberlin Road west to Orchard Street with new eight-inch cement mortar-lined ductile iron water main.

Over the next couple of months, Oberlin water crews responded to a handful of calls about reddish-brown water. As a short-term fix, crews flushed the system through fire hydrants until the water ran clear.

By reconfiguring how the water lines are valved, workers have been able to shift the problem from one place to the next, but not eliminate it.

“We subsequently tried two other valving regimes, neither of which has eliminated the problem,” said public works director Jeff Baumann. “We continue to have intermittent calls – not every day and not a lot but continuing nevertheless.”

His most recent tally indicates calls from 17 different residences over the last 11 months. Each time, the water division has responded by flushing water through hydrants.

Construction on East College appeared to have either substantially increased the velocity of the water or changed the normal direction of flow, said Baumann.

Engineering firm Burgess & Niple was consulted to provide a permanent solution and found that the velocity, pressure, and direction of flow had not changed in a significant way because of the work on East College.

The firm found that the cast iron mains on Shipherd Circle have reached the end of their useful life. The lines are supposed to last about 70 years. The ones serving Shipherd are a little older than 60 years.

By the end of December, duct iron pipes with cement mortar lining will replace the existing cast iron water mains on Shipherd Circle, Caskey Drive, and Stewart Court. The new pipes have a life of 110 to 120 years.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews


By Laurie Hamame